If you’ve never heard the story of the Glasgow Ice Cream Van Wars, then you certainly won’t get the full story here. What you will get though is Teddy Rennoc’s version of what happened when he drove one of the vans going up against the competing Marchetti Brothers, and in Teddy’s version the war really was over the rights to sell ice cream, household basics and the odd bit of stolen goods rather than heroin – I suspect the true full story lies somewhere between his and the official version. But even if you do believe that there was never any heroin involved in Teddy’s van, ice cream was apparently a hot enough property for the amounts of money being talked about traded each day to attract the ne’erdowells.
While not particularly well-written – Teddy has a very random approach to capitalisation and punctuation (as he explains at the end, he writes how he speaks and couldn’t afford a proper editor) – it’s still a very entertaining story, entertainingly told. I could read an entire book that just told the story of Soapy, the tiny twelve-year old terror who saw off more ice cream vans than any amount of crowbar wielding hard men ever could (although crowbar wielding hard men do smash up more than a few vans and people themselves within these pages).
While careful to make sure he doesn’t cop to anything that would get him in real trouble, he lays out quite a few of the schemes laid to get around the coppers as well as the dawning realisation that he’s in over his head as things start to get more and more violent and he gets to see what it might be like to be on the scarier side of some of his bosses.
So, if you want the full story of the ice cream van wars you’re probably better off looking elsewhere, but if you’re looking for an entertaining story from one of the lower level players, knock yourself out.